Society

Texas City, School District Could Face $15 Million Lawsuit Over Treatment Of Clock-Making Teen

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
Ahmed MohamedAhmed Mohamed

Ahmed Mohamed, the Irving, Texas, 14-year-old who made international headlines when his teacher thought his homemade clock was a bomb, may pursue a lawsuit against several city officials and the Irving School District.

The family has since relocated to Qatar for Ahmed's education.

In separate demand letters sent on Nov. 23 to city attorney Charles Anderson and the school district’s lawyer, Tina Patel, the Mohameds' family attorney, Kelly Hollingsworth, outlined the fallout of Ahmed’s run-in with authorities and exactly what had happened on the day he was questioned.

When Ahmed brought his homemade clock to school, an English teacher said it “looked like” a bomb and the teen was escorted out of class, The Washington Post reports.

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“The basis for [the teacher’s] actions is unclear," the letters read. "She certainly did not treat the clock as though it were dangerous. [The teacher] initially placed the clock on her desk.”

Five Irving police officers, the principal and the assistant principal reportedly questioned Ahmed for several hours, and he was “pressured to sign a written statement admitting that he intended to bring a ‘hoax bomb’ to school,” according to the letters.

Hollingsworth claims the principal said she would expel Ahmed if he didn’t sign the confession and he wasn’t allow to contact his parents.

According to the demand letters, Ahmed had “his 14-year-old face superimposed onto a famous image of Osama bin Laden – beard included – appearing below a blogger’s rant against the ‘parents of this little terrorist’ in training.” 

He was also ridiculed by conservative commentator Glenn Beck, who reportedly said, “This is really kind of the final throes of weakening us to the point to where we don’t ask any questions, to be ready for final confrontation, total confrontation,” and called Ahmed a “'pawn' of the architects of a 'global jihad.'”

Ahmed also felt “the burden of responsibility for his siblings being harassed and scared to go to school, for his father’s business suffering greatly from Mr. Mohamed’s absence, for one of his sisters being fired from her job, and for neither of his older sisters being able to find schools in Qatar.”

Hollingsworth solicited $5 million in damages from the school district, as well as a written apology to Ahmed, and $10 million from the city, with written apologies from both Police Chief Larry Boyd and Mayor Beth Van Duyne.

Both parties have 60 days to respond to Hollingsworth’s letter, The Dallas Morning News reports.

Ultimately, the family is seeking an apology because they want to go home.

“Qatar is nice, but it is not Texas. That is their attitude toward this,” Hollingsworth said, according to The Washington Post. “They are citizens of Irving, Texas, USA, first. Are they devout people devoted to their faith? Absolutely. But they are Texans, too, and they want to come home. What we are seeking is for them to be able to do that with their heads held high.”

Sources: Demand Letter (2), The Dallas Morning News, The Washington Post / Photo credit: CNN